Happy Thanksgiving!

EnMart will be closed Thursday,  November 23 and Friday, November 24 to allow our employees to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families.   We will re-open on Monday,  November 27.

Among the many things we are thankful for this holiday season,  we must count you,  our loyal customers and friends.   Thank you for supporting EnMart.  We wish everyone the happiest of Thanksgivings.

 

How To Apply for Wholesale Pricing from EnMart

Like many suppliers,  EnMart offers wholesale pricing to those customers that qualify.   In our case,  wholesale pricing is a percentage off the public price,  the price anyone can see if they came to our homepage and click the start shopping button.  The public prices are freely visible, and can be seen without logging in or creating an account.

Wholesale prices,  on the other hand,  can only be seen once a customer has applied for a wholesale account and been approved.  Once a customer has been approved,  wholesale prices are visible only if the shopper is logged in.  Otherwise all pricing will reflect the public price.   This keeps our wholesale prices private,  so that any of our customers who wish to resell any of our products will not have to worry about their customers seeing the prices at which the goods being sold were purchased.

The application process works as follows:

  1.  Go to the EnMart homepage.   On this page,  you’ll see four buttons.   The one on the far righthand side says, “I need a business log-in”.  Click that button.
  2. Once the button is clicked a form will appear.  There will also be a text box which explains the steps we had to take to get around our $25 minimum order requirement.  The upshot of the explanation in the box is that you will not be charged $25 for applying for a log-in.
  3. After you’ve read the explanation,  go ahead and fill out the form.  MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR TAX I.D. NUMBER.  Applications for wholesale pricing without tax i.d. numbers will not be considered.
  4. Complete the form and click the “Submit Order” button when done.
  5. Once the form has been submitted,  we will review your information. During normal business hours,  most people are notified of approval or denial within an hour or less.   On weekends and after normal business hours,  approval and notification will take longer.
  6. After your account has been approved,  you must remember to log-in before shopping.  This will allow you to see wholesale prices.  If you shop and fill your cart without logging in,  you will not see wholesale pricing until you log-in at checkout.

NOTE:  You can also reach the wholesale account application form from any page by clicking the “Wholesale” button on the top menu.

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Customer Spotlight: Judy Hansen

Name:  Judy Hansen

Business:  Quilt Shop of DeLand (Quilt Shop and Pattern/Book Company)

Website:  http://www.quiltshopofdeland.com

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/Quilt-Shop-of-DeLand-Inc-137627432655

Judy Hansen is a quilt shop owner,  an educator,  a designer and an effervescent ball of energy and enthusiasm.  She has owned Quilt Shop of Deland for the past 16 years. Judy is also an author,  having written three books on quilting and creating over 75 patterns.  She has also designed over a dozen colorful fabric lines.  We’re proud to say that Judy will be sharing some of her skills and knowledge with those who visit EnMart in booth 2312 at Quilt Market.  Judy believes that “an educated quilter is just more fun!”  and she will be helping to create both fun and educational moments in our booth.  Before you stop by booth 2312 to see her at Market,  you can learn a bit more about her here.

Please describe your work.

JH:  I have owned the Quilt Shop of DeLand for 16 years.   It has been an incredible journey!  We started out in a small 700 square foot store,  but now own a 3,000 square foot building.  My inventory includes all the items you would expect in a quilt shop,  but our specialty is how we package our offerings and how we treat our customers.

What do you like best about what you do?

JH: Oh that’s easy  – the quilters walking in the door!  I love customer contact and interacting – having fun with the ladies and occasionally guys who quilt.  I love hearing their stories, who they learned to quilt from, who they are making a quilt for and I love my shop staff.

What is the biggest challenge you face in doing your work?

JH: For me,  finding enough hours in the day to do all the things I love.   I taught school for 20 years before opening the shop and I love to teach quilting but only do it on a large scale now, generally at Guilds,  Houston Quilt Market Schoolhouse and AQS Shows.  I also love to design fabric,  and am now with Blank Fabric.   I also design patterns and write books.  I am a big multi-tasker so somehow it all gets done.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing your industry as a whole?

JH: The economy can be a big downer…many of my customers are retired and, of course,  their lifestyle comes first.

Were you always creative?  Did you make things as a child?

JH: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to draw.  I was also so fortunate to have my grandmother live with us.  She taught me to sew from an early age.

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Was there someone in your field that helped you when you were starting out?

JH: I had a lovely mentor who owned Quilter’s Marketplace in Florida since the early 80s.  One of the very first shops in the state.  She was generous with her time and advice when I was opening and we are still friends.

What one tip would you give people starting out in your field?

JH: Do your research,  write a business plan.   It can be as simple as:

Who:  Who is your customer,  what age,  where will you find them,  this will guide advertising.

What: What do you want to sell?  If you want to sell fabric mainly,  have classes.  Also, price range,  what do you want people to say about our prices when they walk into your shop.

When: When will you be open, and will you sell online as well.  Remember your family will be impacted by these choices too.

Where:  A biggie! Location and surroundings can determine a lot.  Do you want to be a discount mart?  A classy shop?

Why:  Why are you opening this business? Passion can only take you so far.  Many business owners start with zero staff and work 24/7.

What are your goals for your business?

JH: To continue to be one of the best shops in the nation!  I love staying up to date, and our motto is: “the newest,  the latest, and the very best products and service”.

If you could travel back to when you started in this industry,  what piece of advice would you give yourself?

JH: I hired knowledgeable quilters at first,  but I soon found out that employees don’t need to know everything about quilting.  What they do need is to love people and be enthusiastic about quilting.

What is your favorite leisure time activity?

JH: My family and spending time with my 3 little grandbabies  — all under 4.  And reading!  I love novels,  mysteries and quilting themed books.  I am also a fabric designer so I draw every chance I get.

Why do you buy from/work with EnMart?

JH: That’s easy,  they have a fantastic product that my staff, customers and myself all love.  A big plus is their customer service department and easy order website.

What EnMart products do you use most?

JH: I teach free motion quilting on the home/domestic machine and I love, love, love the 50 wt. cotton!  It’s wonderful to both piece and quilt with and the variegated colors are awesome!! The polyester – over 300 gorgeous colors – is great for embroidery which is a new love of mine,  and great in the bobbin too.   Iris thread is a real bonus with selling machines too.  The thread performs beautifully when we demonstrate stitches and we give a free spool with their machine to start them off with the best.

Why do you use these products?

JH: Quality is the key in quilting – you are stitching at high speeds and don’t have time for breakage or poor performance.   Iris is simply the best product we have found for our quilting.

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Trendy Thursday: 6 Industry Trends That Need To Die

For whatever the reason,  I seem to be having a “you kids get off my lawn!” sort of day,  in which I’m finding everything a little annoying.   Given my state of mind,  it seemed like a good day to write about a few trends within our industry that I think need to end,  immediately.   Some of these are social media related, and some deal with the industry as a whole.

Trend #1:  Posting multiple pictures in a row of the same design/your work  – This drives me nuts,  mostly because it tends to reduce the impact of the work,  which may be great,  but isn’t going to hold people’s attention if they have to scroll past 13 pictures of the same or similar things.  Don’t flood people’s feed with images of your work.  Choose one picture that you think represents your best work, and provide a link where people can see more examples if they’re interested.

Trend #2: Under charging – This is a particularly insidious trend for new business owners.  Often people don’t really know what they should be earning per job or what they need to be earning per job.  Some decorators (women seem to have a particular problem with this) also undervalue their work because it’s “sewing” or “a hobby”.  If you’ve invested time and money in equipment and learning your craft, you’re a professional.  Set your rates accordingly.

Trend #3: Changing artwork to avoid copyright infringement – There is a long-standing myth that changing copyrighted artwork by a certain percentage will negate the possibility of copyright infringement,  but that’s not so.  There is no such rule.  The best way to avoid copyright infringement is to get permission to use artwork that you did not create,  or to create your own original works.

Trend #4: Video because you can – Facebook Live,  Snapchat, smartphones and sites offering video creation tools mean that almost anyone can be a star.  That’s great,  up to a point.   The thing, however, to ask yourself before making a video is whether or not you should.  Do you have a plan for content?  Do you know what you want to say?  Are you comfortable on camera?  Particularly for businesses who are talking to customers,  videos need to have a reason to exist.  Just because you can is not that reason.

Trend #5: Hard selling on social media – As I’ve said before in seminars,  the first word in the phrase “social media” is “social” for a reason.  Social media is not about selling,  it’s about creating community.  Despite this,  some decoration companies insist on setting up profiles where all they do is post links to product and pricing.  In order to sell on social media,  you have to build trust and a community.  Social media is about soft selling,  where the sales messages are mixed with value added features.  Doing nothing but a hard sell on your profiles will soon insure that you’re selling to no one.

Trend 6: Complaining about the “guy down the street” – It may literally be the competing shop down the street, or it may be an online site,  but there’s always that one business that seems to inexplicably do well while either using underhanded tactics, or doing shoddy work.  It’s tempting to blame those companies for the state of pricing,  or the fact that you didn’t get the big job,  and it’s equally tempting to complain that those companies should change. The reality is they won’t,  and another reality is that there will always probably be people who will buy from them.  What really matters,  however, is not what the other guy does,  it’s what you do.   If you do your best work,  offer fair pricing, and treat your customers honestly and with respect,  who cares what anyone else is doing?  Focus on how you can be better,  not on stopping these other companies from being worse.

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The Benefits of Crafting

We all know that crafting it trendy right now.   Whether it’s turning something that would be trash into something new and usable,  making wearables instead of buying them,  creating items to express your personality,  or just finding a fun activity for a rainy day,  creative arts involving quilting, embroidering and other sorts of thread or yarn crafts have never been more popular.    The great thing for those who do those activities, whether it’s for business or fun or a combination of the two,  is that crafting has been shown to have a lot of benefits beyond resulting in a beautiful finished project.

One big benefit of crafting is reducing stress.   The repetitive motions required by some crafting projects induce a state that’s almost like meditation.    Activities like knitting have been shown to help people with anxiety disorders cope with their anxiety issues.  Just taking the time to focus on a project and relax can have huge benefits when it comes to lessening stress levels.  Reduced stress leads to lower blood pressure,  better sleep,  a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes and a greater quality of life.

Creating things,  whether it’s through using a craft kit or making your own design from scratch has also been shown to improve mental function and head off age-related mental decline.  Studies have shown that people who do activities, crafting among them,  that keep their minds active have a much better chance of avoiding problems like dementia, loss of memory or cerebral atrophy.  Crafting provides challenges to the brain and keeps the neural pathways stimulated.  One clinical trial showed that the benefits of activities like crafting can last up to 10 years.

Working on a crafting project also has mood elevating benefits,  and can help those who are dealing with depression.   Crafting stimulates the reward center in the human brain,  causing it to release dopamine,  a natural mood elevator.  There is pleasure in the process of creating and then pleasure in seeing the finished project displayed or worn.  Obviously,  crafting is not a substitute for therapy or medication if the problem is on-going,  but it can be a part of a concentrated program of treatment.   For those who are simply having a blue mood or a bad day,  crafting can help brighten things and provide focus and a sense of accomplishment.

Crafting also has a wide variety of social benefits.  People who quilt or knit or hand embroider often meeting in circles or guilds to share their work and offer tips and help to each other.  There are Facebook groups for things like quilting,  knitting and embroidery.  Local quilt shops or yarn shops often offer classes where crafters can meet others who enjoy the same activities.   Crafting also offer a way to be social to those who might be more introverted or uncomfortable in a social setting.   Doing a craft offers a point of commonality and an easy way to interact with others.

If you’re interested in gaining some of the benefits of crafting for yourself,  we can help.   Check out our Pinterest boards for craft tutorials and ideas for crafting projects.  For those who want a project they can complete in a few hours,  our Pretty Twisted Craft Kits are a great option.  Finally,  if you’re looking for supplies for machine embroideryhand embroidery or crochet,  you can find those on our site as well.

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We’ve Got Your Back(ing)

Figuring out what stabilizer to use seems pretty simple.   If you don’t want to cut,  you use tearaway.   If you don’t mind cutting,  you use cutaway.  Rolls are more economical,  in most cases,  but pre-cut sheets can be faster and easier.  White can work on everything,  but black or beige may sometimes be the better option,  if those colors are available.  Choosing a backing seems simple,  but it may not be as simple as you think.   The more you know,  the better you understand how backing construction,  type and even color can play a role in the success or failure of your finished embroidery.  That’s where we come in.

Part of what we do here at EnMart is teach.   Our job,  besides finding and selling top quality embroidery and sublimation supplies,  is to teach you how to best use what we sell.   It’s kind of a circle of life thing,  we offer a backing for sale,  we educate you about why that backing is a good buy and necessary to your project’s success,  you buy it,  your projects turn out fabulous,  you come back and buy more backing.  The cycle, hopefully, repeats,  over and over again.

With that in mind,  I wanted to take a moment today to share some photos of backing we took with a new tool we recently purchased,  a microscope.  Now you may be wondering what a microscope can tell you about backing,  and the answer is quite a lot.  Here’s some of what we learned.

2.5 oz. cutaway

This is our 2.5 ounce cutaway backing. The first thing you notice when you look at this picture is the long unbroken strands.   That’s the sign of a cutaway,  long strands of fiber which can’t be torn.   The second thing you notice is how many strands there are.   Quality backing will always have a good ratio of fibers to filler.  Less fibers and more filler generally means a more uneven, less strong stabilizer.

1.8 ounce tearaway

Next is our 1.8 ounce tearaway stabilizer.  In this picture,  you can see the fibers are shorter and thinner,  which makes them easier to tear.   Again,  the ratio of filler to fiber is weighted on the side of the fibers,  indicating that this is a quality backing.  This is a backing which,  if you did the light test,  where you hold a piece up to a light source to see if it has uneven spots,  would pass the test.

Poly Mesh

Our third picture is of the poly mesh backing.    It almost looks like a diamond,  which is fitting, as poly mesh is a unique stabilizer.  It is designed to hold a lot of stitches and has been textured to allow it to do so. Much like the name implies,  you can see the fibers do form a kind of mesh and that,  although the backing is thin,  the fibers that make it up are thicker,  allowing it to hold more stitches despite its thinness.

Waffle weave tearaway

Finally,  we have our waffle-weave tearaway,  which is designed to be extremely easy to tear.   You can see that reflected in the fibers that are used to make up the backing.   They’re extremely thin and very multi-directional. The fibers are also much shorter,  which makes them easier to tear.  This is a backing that could be torn apart quite easily.

Understanding how backing is made,  and how that method of creation impacts the finished product can help you make the best choices when choosing backing for your project.  Now,  we know that most of you will never put your backing under a microscope,  but we never expected you would.  That’s what we’re here for.  We’ve got you back and your backing and we’re happy to help you make the best choices possible when it comes to purchasing supplies.

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No Hint of Lint – Ultra Quilting Thread

Lint can be the bane of a quilter’s existence.  A cotton thread that produces too much lint causes build-up inside the machine.   From the outside all looks serene,  but take a look inside and you’ll find the lint monster lurking.   Lint gums up the thread path.   It lurks around the bobbin case,  the bobbin area and the tension disks.  Lint causes your thread to lose tension in the middle of quilting. It makes your machine stitch erratically,  causing flaws in your design.  This insidious fluff can also throw the timing of your machine off or stop it from working entirely.  Lint looks fluffy and harmless but,  if allowed to build up,  it can create a number of problems for you and your machine.

Now it should be said that lint doesn’t only come from cotton thread.  Batting and fabric can also create lint,  which contributes to the build-up inside your machine.   Cotton thread, however,  can often be a huge culprit when it comes to lint production.   Because of the nature of the beast,  and how it runs through a machine, cotton thread can create a ton of lint.

So,  given that we know lint is bad,  and cotton thread is one of the primary causes of lint in a machine,  how do you avoid this linty dilemma?   Some people will tell you the solution is not to use cotton thread at all,  and there are quilters who choose to do just that.   Instead of cotton,  they use a polyester,  like Iris UltraBrite Polyester,  to create their quilts.   As we know from experience,  the results when polyester thread is used can be quite stunning,  but that option isn’t for all quilters.   Some like cotton and want to use it without any annoying fluff balls of lint.

For those quilters,  Ultra Quilting Thread is the perfect option.  It is 100% long staple Egyptian cotton.  This thread is double mercerized,  which means it has been treated to allow the dye to better penetrate the fibers.  Mercerizing also increases the strength and luster of the thread.  Ultra cotton thread has also been gassed,  a process which exposes the thread to high heat and results in a dramatic reduction in lint production.  The end result is a thread that is smooth and lustrous, one which is strong enough to run well during the most complicated quilting sessions,  and which produces little to no lint.

Now,  we understand that “little to no lint” is a subjective description,  so we have provided you with a visual aid,  the picture that accompanies this post.  That picture is of the bobbin case from the owner of EnMart’s sewing machine.  She is a beginning quilter and has now made two quilts with that machine,  and what you see in the bobbin case is the lint the Ultra Thread produced during the entire process of creating those two quilts. The small picture to the right of this paragraph is a close-up version of the bobbin case in the picture at the top of the post.   As you can see,  there’s little,  if any, lint to be seen.

We’re confident that Iris Ultra Quilting Thread is one of the lowest lint,  if not the lowest lint cotton thread in the quilting industry,  but we’re not going to ask you to take our pictures as proof.  We know that seeing is believing,  but trying cements that belief.  If you’d like to try a sample of Ultra thread for yourself,  just comment on this blog post or contact us with your name and address and we’ll get a sample out to you.

Banish the lint monster once and for all.  Get your sample of Ultra Quilting Thread today!

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Wisdom Wednesday: The Myth of “Free” Shipping

These days,  if you ask the average consumer what their biggest issue is with online purchasing,  chances are they’re going to say shipping costs.   That’s why so many companies are moving to offering free shipping on orders over a certain amount,  or on any order at all. Consumers have been trained to look for it,  and to expect to receive free shipping on the orders they place.  The desire for free shipping is so ingrained  that most consumers don’t even think about what costs they might be paying in place of the “free” shipping they’re receiving.

At EnMart,  we get asked about free shipping frequently,  but offer it very rarely,  generally only through our e-mail specials and then only a few times a year.  Instead we focus on keeping our prices low and giving our customers shipping options and the lowest rates we can offer.   To us,  this is a more transparent way to do business but,  to some potential customers,  who are focused on the word “free” any shipping cost at all is to high.  While we realize we can’t change everyone’s mind when it comes to this subject,  we wanted to explain why we think as we do about free shipping and why we don’t,  as a general rule, offer it.

First,  let’s talk about what “free” shipping really is.   I like this definition of free shipping from an article about the psychology behind this marketing tool.  Basically,  free shipping is defined as “a marketing technique that removes the stated cost of shipping charges for qualified purchases”.   Notice, it doesn’t say eliminates the charges,  it simply says removes the stated cost,  which means that you see a zero in the shipping line on your invoice.  That cost hasn’t disappeared, however,  it’s just not visible to you.    Someone still has to pay that cost.

One way to pay that cost,  a way that primarily works for massively large companies like Amazon,  is economies of scale.  What this means is that the retailer ships so many packages, and can subsequently negotiate extremely low rates with shipping companies,  and so their burden of shipping cost is less when spread over the amount of business the company does.   Even in the case of the biggest companies,  this is a strategy that doesn’t always pay off.  Amazon only recovers about 55% of their shipping costs,  and they can only shoulder that kind of burden because of their size and the offshoot programs they’ve created to generate additional revenue.

For companies that aren’t Amazon,  or Target or Wal-Mart,  one way to offer free shipping is to hide the cost of the shipment in the price of the product.   The math (in very simplistic form) works like this:

Company A and Company B both sell a blue widget.  It costs $3 to ship.

Company A sells the widget for $4.00 and $3.00 shipping.

Company B sells the widget for $7.00.

The cost is the same – the only difference is that if you buy from Company B,  in the column next to shipping you’ll see this: $0.

We understand that seeing $0 in the shipping column on your invoice may make you feel like you’re saving dollars,  but that isn’t always the case.  The reality is that free shipping is never free,  someone has to pay the cost,  either you as the consumer,  or the company that’s selling you the product, and if it’s the company that’s selling the product,  they’re going to have to recoup that cost in some way.   Always make sure you compare costs and spend the time to ensure that your “free” shipping is really free, and the best value available.  It may cost you a bit of time on the front end,  but you’ll be sure you’re getting the best deal available, whether you pay shipping costs or not.

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The Gifts of Summer

While you couldn’t tell it by the temperatures in Northern Michigan for the last few weeks,  summer is rapidly approaching.  The start of summer means a lot of things,  graduations,  the end of the school year,  summer camp,  family reunions,  Fourth of July,  and numerous cookouts, pool parties and campfires.  All of these events,  of course,  are also opportunities for personalized gifts or promo products.   If you’re one of the businesses that wants to capitalize on the season,  we have some ideas that will help.

First,  let’s start with education.   Teacher gifts are big at the end of the year,  and it would be nice to be able to offer something more than an apple.  A personalized Owl Cubbie (owls are symbols of wisdom) would make a great gift for a special teacher or professor.   The graduate in your life would most likely treasure a Cubbie in the shape of the school mascot embroidered with the name of the school and the date of graduation.   Tigersbears, and lions are common school mascots and could be easily decorated.  The mascot option also works to commemorate sports championships,  or membership in the cheer squad or the school band.

Cubbies also make a great option for the child going to sleep away camp for the first time.   A personalized, huggable harlequin dog or adorable penguin could help ease any pangs of homesickness.  Personalized messenger bags are a great option for those going to day camp.   Luggage and bag tags can help make sure that any necessary supplies or equipment go to the right person so your favorite camper is well supplied.

Cookouts are a fertile ground for personalized cooking utensils.   Your favorite BBQ chef would love to have a personalized cutting board on which to chop onions for burgers or mushrooms for steaks.   If the BBQ pit also features a bar area,  personalized shot glasses or beer mugs will be a big hit.  Decorated coasters could help keep frosty drinks from staining patio furniture.

The Fourth of July is probably the major summer holiday and is also a great time for personalized decorated items.   Patriot variegated embroidery thread is perfect for that patriotic quilt or tablecloth for the Fourth of July celebration.  Flag patches could be used as table favors or as giveaways.  A patriotic mural could be made from sublimated tiles.

Truth be told,  every season is brimming over with events that are crying out for promotional items and personalized goods,  summer just happens to be the one that is coming up.  The trick to capitalizing on each season and the opportunities it may bring is to be alert and to think about how you can marry the circumstances of your markets to the products that are available.   Customers often don’t know what they want or need, and part of your job,  as a decorator,  is to show them the possibilities.   This post outlines a few of the options that are available for summer.   We look forward to seeing the seasonal decorative items that you all will discover and create.

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Supply Spotlight: Specialty Stabilizer

We just came back from the DAX Show in Minneapolis.   While we were at the show,  as usual,  we fielded quite a few questions about stabilizer.  It seems that stabilizer is one of the things about embroidery that can be confusing for those who are just starting out,  or for those who haven’t had much exposure to the variety of specialized stabilizers that are available.  Since everyone who reads this blog wasn’t able to be at the show and hear our explanations there,  I figured I’d share the information here as well.

First,  let’s define what a specialty stabilizer is.   In general,  a specialty stabilizer is one that is developed for a particular type of embroidery,  to perform a particular function or to work with a particular type of fabric or embroiderable good.  A specialty stabilizer is often used because it will increase the quality of the finished embroidery in some way.

There are a variety of specialty stabilizers available,  and covering each one in depth would result in a blog post that was miles long,  so I’m just going to try and give you an overview of the common options and the reasons why they are used.

Poly Mesh  Poly mesh stabilizer is a light weight, textured stabilizer that is great for t-shirts and light weight fabrics.  The texture allows for the support of a large number of stitches,  but the light weight ensures that the garment or the embroidered design won’t be distorted by a large wad of backing.

Fusible Poly MeshFusible poly mesh is the same material as regular poly mesh,  with the same light weight feel and the same texture.   The difference is that fusible,  as the name implies,  can be fused,  with heat,  to the back of a garment.  Fusible is useful for infant or children’s clothing, covering embroidery that might otherwise scratch delicate skin.   It can also be used with performance wear,  to stabilize and help eliminate the stretch in these types of fabrics.

AdhesiveAdhesive backing is coated with an adhesive which is covered with a release paper.  This type of backing can be hooped,  after which the release paper is scored,  exposing the adhesive,  and allowing for the securing of small items which couldn’t otherwise be hooped,  like patches or socks.  Adhesive backing can also be another option for performance wear,  functioning as a barrier against the stretchiness of the material being embroidered.

Water SolubleWater soluble stabilizer can be a backing or a topping.  As a topping,  water soluble is used on top of fabrics that have a pile.  It is commonly used on fleece or towels and works to keep the stitches from sinking into the pile and disappearing.   Another type of water soluble,  called Badgemaster, is thicker and used for making free standing lace.

Cutaway/Washaway – Another option for free standing lace is a cutaway/washaway backing.  This type of stabilizer can be used to create free standing lace ornaments,  as it can be embroidered and then the excess can be dissolved away.   Cutaway/washaway can also be a good option for when the back of an embroidered item, like a monogrammed towel, for instance,  might be seen.  The excess stabilizer will wash away over time,  leaving the back of the embroidery tidy.

Cap Backing – Hats are a popular item with many embroiderers,  and cap backing makes embroidering a hat easier.  This type of backing is usually 2.5 to 3.0 ounces,  and is often offered in smaller sizes like 4 x 7.  Cap backing is a stiff, paperlike tearaway,  which tears cleanly, and is stiff enough to support stitch heavy logos.

Some embroiderers will tell you that specialty stabilizers aren’t necessary,  that a simple cutaway or tearaway will get the job done in almost any situation,  and they wouldn’t be wrong.  What specialty stabilizers offer is the ability not just to get the job done,  but to get it done in a way that works with the fabric and creates a finished design that is really a work of art.

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